Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are set to meet this week in Hanoi for their second summit. Diplomacy is clearly the preferable path, but the president has not leveled with the American people about the nature of the North Korean nuclear threat or about what his outreach has accomplished. The seriousness of the threat requires candor from the Oval Office.
There are two basic problems heading into the summit. First, the president is either misleading the public or is dangerously mistaken about North Korea, falsely promising that its nuclear program is constrained and that the threat has receded. Second, the president’s repeated claim to be in “no rush” to reach a deal reflects a serious analytical error, since, despite a pause in nuclear and missile tests, North Korea’s nuclear program is in fact advancing by the day. At a minimum, the United States should insist that North Korea meaningfully freeze its program during the talks.